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Losing sound in KDE but ALSA works

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http://forums.opensuse.org – Something screwy has been going on with my sound in the last week or so which I cannot figure out. For some reason my sound stops working in KDE4. I can't trace it to any particular event, it seems to happen randomly. I think the problem started when I tried installing ktts (the text to speech engine) but I cannot be sure. I've now removed ktts but my problem persists. The strange thing is that if I go to the sound configuration in yast and play the test sound it works fine. But if I try play the test sound in multimedia settings from within systemsettings then I get an error saying "The audio playback device HDA Intel (AD198x Analog) does not work." Also that error message window is titled phonon. I didn't install phonon but notice that it's installed. I assume it was installed with the default install because trying to remove it brings up over a 100 dependencies. The left speaker / right speak test from the konsole works but only as su and not as me. I get permission errors. Is that normal? Code: speaker-test -c2 -l5 -twav speaker-test 1.0.21 Playback device is default Stream parameters are 48000Hz, S16_LE, 2 channels WAV file(s) ALSA lib confmisc.c:768:(parse_card) cannot find card '0' ALSA lib conf.c:4154:(_snd_config_evaluate) function snd_func_card_driver returned error: Permission denied ALSA lib confmisc.c:392:(snd_func_concat) error evaluating strings ALSA lib conf.c:4154:(_snd_config_evaluate) function snd_func_concat returned error: Permission denied ALSA lib confmisc.c:1251:(snd_func_refer) error evaluating name ALSA lib conf.c:4154:(_snd_config_evaluate) function snd_func_refer returned error: Permission denied ALSA lib conf.c:4633:(snd_config_expand) Evaluate error: Permission denied ALSA lib pcm.c:2211:(snd_pcm_open_noupdate) Unknown PCM default Playback open error: -13,Permission denied.....etc...etc The only way for me to get sound working is to reset the sound card in yast. I also notice that sometimes when I boot up, after I login at the graphic login screen it kicks me out to the command prompt asking me to log in again. When I log in and "startx" KDE starts up but without sound and no kmix. Trying to start kmix manually doesn't start it. I just get an empty window. Again the sound works from the yast sound test. I've tried removing the kmix config files from /.kde4/config/ but that doesn't help. The logs don't show anything obvious to me and the problem appears to occur randomly in so much I haven't been able to figure out what triggers it yet. I also noticed during a session that I have this sound problem and after I've fixed it by resetting the sound card in yast that kde doesn't shutdown when trying to shut the laptop down. I get the kde logging off chime but the desktop remains and is fully functional. After that any attempt to log-off or shutdowm is ignored. I'm forced to run the shutdown command from the konsole to shut the laptop down. I'm not sure how it's related but it only happens after the sound problem occurs. I'm using KDE4.4.1 but this started in KDE4.4.0 so the update didn't help any. When I upgraded to KDE4.4.0 I started with a fresh .kde4 directory. I'd appreciate any suggestions. I want to avoid removing the .kde4 directory if possible. That would have to be a last resort. (Distributions)